For Starters: Fall 2021

Remembering 9/11. New dean. Cloth art.

1. Honoring “Weecha”

A new 8-foot tall, 800-pound glass sculpture currently on loan to Barnard College by Berkshire-based artist Henry Richardson was inspired by Maria Luisa “Weecha” Crawford ’60, emeritus professor of geology at Bryn Mawr.

Richardson first crossed paths with Crawford, referred to by her students as “Weecha,” in a Geology 101 course at Bryn Mawr (Richardson attended Haverford). Inspired by Crawford, Richardson decided at the end of his sophomore year to switch his major from economics to geology, and Crawford became his thesis advisor, encouraging him to explore the geological terrain of Kennett Square for his senior thesis project.


A recent article on Barnard’s website describes the moment of inspiration:

“A few years ago, as Richardson was rummaging through his hammer drawer, the sight of his geology rock hammer from his college days brought Crawford back to his mind. ‘That just took me all the way back to being in the field with her,’ he said. From there, he began the energy- and time-intensive work of creating the layered sculpture of bonded, chiseled glass in the interpretive form of a figure that would become Weecha. ‘She was in the back of my mind as I was making this form,’ he said.”

2. Memories of 9/11

On Sept. 11, 2001, Associate Professor of Literatures in English Bethany Schneider was teaching the third day of class of her first-year-student seminar (then known as C-Sem) as a brand-new faculty member. Twenty years later, she shared some of that experience:


“I remember holding someone’s hand. We returned to the lecture hall to try to talk about what we’d seen. Sat in a tight circle in that big space. Their faces were now so different from earlier—stiff and fearful where they had been open and joyous. The students from New York were terrified. I don’t think anyone had a cell phone to even try to call home. Their voices sounded so young, like children. My own young voice. What on earth did I say to them, I who was still so newly minted? I have no memory of that. But in that way you do in times of extreme duress, as if you are watching your own actions on a screen—I looked at their faces as we sat together on that unearthly beautiful September day and thought, ‘We will all remember each other forever. We will always have been together, sitting in this circle, at this time.’”

3. New Dean for Intercultural Engagement

Joi Dallas is Bryn Mawr’s new assistant dean for intercultural engagement. After a two-year stint as residential life coordinator, working both with hall advisors throughout the dorms and with the Enid Cook ’31 Center, she now joins the Pensby Center for Community Development and Inclusion staff.


Dean Joi Dallas

“I hope to act as a resource for any student group that desires support around creating an inclusive environment for their members and event participants,” says Dallas. She also hopes to continue to collaborate with Library and Information Technology Services and Alumnae/i Relations and Development on the Preserving the Histories of Perry House Project, which is in its second year.

“That project is so exciting to me,” Dallas says, “because it connects the stories of community members from the old Black cultural center, Perry House, with the experiences of current ECC community members.”

Click here for a Q&A with Dallas.

4. Dancing in the Streets?

“Videos of Guineans dancing in the streets and cheering as pickup trucks full of soldiers parade through Conakry have made the rounds on social media. But Guineans have experienced military rule before, and they know the consequences can be dangerous.” —Associate Professor of Anthropology Susanna Fioratta in a piece she wrote for The Conversation on the September 2021 coup d’état in the West African Republic of Guinea.

5. Cloth as Art


Sylvia W. Houghteling, an assistant professor of history of art, was recently awarded a publication grant from the College Art Association through the Millard Meiss Foundation Publication Fund for her forthcoming book, The Art of Cloth in Mughal India (Princeton University Press, 2022).

The book explores the vast array of textiles that circulated throughout the Mughal Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries. Drawing on small-scale paintings, popular poetry, chronicle histories, and royal inventory records, Houghteling charts the travels of textiles from the Mughal imperial court to the kingdoms of Rajasthan, the Deccan sultanates, and the British Isles.

6. Becoming Silicon Valley

This fall, Professor of History of Art Homay King is spending time in London as the Ailsa Mellon Bruce Visiting Senior Fellow at the National Gallery of Art’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. While there, King will be working on her forthcoming book Go West: A Mythology of Silicon Valley. Growing up in Sunnyvale, Calif., in the 1970s and ’80s, King lived across the street from the site now occupied by Apple’s headquarters, which was at that time a cherry orchard.


In the book, King looks at tech culture through works of film, video, music, architecture, painting, and photography. Grounded in scholarly inquiry, the book is also part memoir, chronicling King’s firsthand witnessing of the region’s astonishingly rapid suburban development.

7. Bi-Co News


Director Akeem Davis

This fall, award-winning actor, director, and educator Akeem Davis joins the Bi-Co Theater Program as a guest lecturer and director for the semester, teaching Fundamentals of Acting and Performance Ensembles and Advanced Performance Ensembles. Under Davis’ direction, students in the ensembles courses explored and performed Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph, a play about a tumultuous relationship that evolves over the span of 30 years.